The limestone cliff that houses Crvena Stijena is part of the Dinarides mountains, which stretch along the western part of the Balkan peninsula from Italy to Albania. This mountain chain, which rises steeply from a narrow strip of land along the Adriatic coast, is an extension of the Alps, and is primarily composed of limestone and dolomite.
The rock shelter itself is very large: 26 m wide at the mouth, extending 15 m inwards. When it was first formed, it must have looked quite different from today, as through time large boulders have broken off from the roof of the shelter and fallen into the site, crushing the deposits. In total, over 20 meters in depth of deposits had accumulated in the rock shelter when it was discovered in 1954. The fact that these deposits contain a continuous record of human occupation are a testament to the importance of this location for people throughout prehistory, from the Paleolithic to the Bronze Age.
An aerial view of the rockshelter shows its position within the Dinaric karst; Lake Bileca is visible in the background